A persistent cough, a sore that refuses to heal, unexplained weight loss and changing bladder habits.
They may seem innocuous, irritating facts of life.

But experts warn people not to dismiss them and six other key changes in the body, for fear they could be a sign of something far more sinister.

The 10 red flags for cancer are ingrained in the minds of doctors and healthcare workers the world over. 

But on World Cancer Day, experts are reminding members  of the public to familiarise themselves with the key symptoms, in a bid to save lives.

Currently 8.2 million people die from the disease across the world each year - 4.7 million men and 3.5 million women.
Of those, four million deaths are premature, those people aged 30 to 69 years old.

In many cases early diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death for cancer patients.
A survey by researchers on behalf of Cancer Research UK last year found almost half of those displaying at least one red flag for cancer did not visit their GP, thinking their symptoms 'trivial'.

Among the signs are unexplained weight loss, which can indicate a number of forms of the disease, including liver cancer, which claimed the life of icon and singer David Bowie in January aged just 69.
Days later actor Alan Rickman lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, also aged just 69. One symptom of that disease - and other forms - is persistent and unexplained pain, experts say. 

If you or a member of your family is suffering at least one of these 10 red flag symptoms, experts advise you book an appointment with a doctor straight away:
  1. Persistent cough or hoarseness - could indicate lung cancer
  2. A change in the appearance of a mole - could mean you're suffering skin cancer
  3. A persistent change in bowel habits - could be a sign of bowel cancer
  4. A sore that does not heal - depends on where, a mouth ulcer could mean mouth cancer
  5. Persistent difficulty swallowing - can mean a person is suffering oesophageal cancer
  6. Unexplained weight loss - can indicate several types of cancer
  7. Persistent change in bladder habits - could be a sign of bladder cancer and prostate cancer in men
  8. An unexplained lump - can be a warning sign of many forms of the disease
  10. Persistent unexplained pain - depending on where, can denote many types of cancer
  11. Unexplained bleeding - depends where but can mean bowel, cervical or vulval cancer   
Dr Katriina Whitaker, a senior research fellow at University College London, said many of the people interviewed as part of their study had red flag symptoms 'but felt these were trivial'.

Other people decided not to go for a check up because they feared a cancer diagnosis, while some adopt a stiff upper lip.

Some people surveyed revealed a lack of trust in the health service, while others put their symptoms down to the signs of ageing.

culled from dailymail

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